What's in a Name?


It depends on the name…  Like, I’m glad my last name isn’t Hogg, or Lipschitz, or Pujols. Maybe I’d feel differently if I were part of a long line of proud, distinguished Lipschitzes, but we’ll never know.

I had a perfectly good last name, a lifetime ago. But then I changed it when I took someone else’s name. Big – BIG – mistake. That guy’s name was Shithead. At the time, I was convinced it was Notsobad, but it really was Shithead and for a short time, I, too, was a Shithead.

My parents were none too pleased that I’d gone off and married a Shithead. They made that pretty clear with all the not talking that went on for several years. But then one day I left Mr. Shithead and soon thereafter did my own divorce. I had the opportunity to go back to the name I’d had so long ago or, choose a new name...

I chose the latter. I was starting a new life, on my own. That girl with the original name was long gone and since my parents had sort of said “good luck with that” and went about their business, that name wasn’t really mine anymore anyway. This new life was mine and mine alone and it should have its own name.

It was an awesome day when my divorce was final and I was legally Ms. Lonewolf. It represented being free of a painful experience and being truly independent, and not going back to something that was no longer there. I was headed forward into the future.

When my parents learned of my new moniker, my mother seemed to think that was pretty cool. It's a family name, after all (from her side), and now I could carry it on a little longer (though for the record, my parrot shares my name and he’ll outlive me, so… he might be the last one). My father though… not so enthused.

He seemed flummoxed by the idea that I wouldn’t go back to his name. Conservative to the very core, it made no sense to him that I would choose my own name. I’m either some other man’s property or I’m his, I guess. I really have no idea – he’s never been able to adequately explain his thoughts on the matter.

What my pop will never understand, being a man of the Greatest Generation, is that as a woman, of my generation, I am done being defined by the person (man, woman, bird, whatever) that I marry. Not that I married my bird, he’s more like my first-hatched. Then we got the cats, so now they’re the kids… Never mind.

The point is, the name represents much more to me than just a new beginning. I married myself, in a sense. I made a vow to be true to myself and all that entails. I eventually remarried to a wonderful guy and he has a great name – it’s distinctive and colorful and few people can spell it without help. Maybe he’d love it if I took his name, but I suspect he cares more about what’s important to me, which almost makes me want to take his name. We’ll see.